Culture

Pink Martini’s Portland New Year’s Eve tradition returns, with local all-stars and a rediscovered film

By Prakruti Bhatt (OPB)
Dec. 31, 2022 1:43 a.m. Updated: Dec. 31, 2022 6:17 p.m.

Audiences will have a chance to watch “Destino,” an animated film by Salvador Dali and Walt Disney, backed by an updated score

The exterior of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Portland's Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, where Pink Martini will give two New Years Eve performances on Saturday.

Bradley W. Parks / OPB

For the first time in three years, self-described “little orchestra” Pink Martini will ring in the new year at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

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The two special New Year’s Eve performances – one at 7 p.m. Saturday and the other at 10:30 p.m. – will feature special guests, including the Portland State University Chamber Choir, NPR host Ari Shapiro, vocalist Edna Vazquez and Oregon Art Beat alumnus Jimmie Herrod.

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“For the choir, the highlight of the New Year’s eve concert is the short animated film called ‘Destino,’ which was made by Salvador Dali and Walt Disney in the 1940s, and then was really suppressed by the Disney family because it was not on brand for them,” says PSU Chamber Choir conductor Ethan Sperry.

For Saturday’s “Destino” performances, Sperry adds, Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale wanted to give both the orchestral and choral scores an update.

“[He] fell in love with the film when it was rediscovered in the early 2000s. He had all the music and choir parts reconstructed,” Sperry says.

These encore “Destino” performances will showcase music that first premiered over the summer at the Hollywood Bowl in Southern California.

“It’s an incredibly complex reconstruction just for these six minutes of beauty,” explains Sperry. “But Salvador Dali didn’t do a lot of animation and [Walt] Disney didn’t really go much outside his brand. I think this is a very unique and special work of art, and especially at this time, it shows how people from wildly different backgrounds can collaborate to create beauty. I think that’s a message the modern era needs to see more and more.”

The evening concerts will help support local music education. The featured artists plan to donate a portion of each ticket sold to the Portland Youth Philharmonic.

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